Review: Watch_Dogs 2

About this Game

Watch_Dogs 2

Publisher

Ubisoft

Developer

Ubisoft Montreal

Release Date

November 15, 2016

Console

PlayStation 4

Time to Plat

20-30h

Platinum Difficulty

Easy

Online Trophies?

Yes

Difficulty Trophies?

No

Follow Us

Makes You Wonder How the First One Turned Out So Bad

After being disappointed by the first Watchdogs all those years ago I refused to play Watchdogs 2 for a very long time until MrZhangetsu finally twisted my arm and I gave it a shot…

Watch_Dogs 2 Review

The original Watch_Dogs game was the last collector’s edition I ever bought. Scarred from my disappointment in the game, I never trusted another new release like that again. So, naturally, I didn’t have very high expectations for Watch_Dogs 2.

Honestly, I am very glad I gave it a shot!

Probably the biggest mistake Ubisoft originally made was basing a hacking game around a 39-year-old with a vendetta and a permanent attitude. Aiden Pearce was in no way relatable, certainly not for the target demographic. It also happened at a time where many people, especially myself, we’re getting really tired of always having a brooding, silent male protagonist and were looking for something more exciting. 

Watch_Dogs 2’s protagonist, Marcus, couldn’t be further from that. At a young age of 24, he falls into the age range of the game’s demographic and he is full of charm, humour and emotion. Seeing him become attached to the members of his hacking group and share many human experiences with them brings you closer to the game and offers some very relatable moments.

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It’s ya boi, Marcus!

The story sort of picks up from the original Watch_Dogs, but is detached enough that you don’t need to play Watch_Dogs to enjoy Watch_Dogs 2 to it’s fullest. 

Once again we’re facing off against the company “Blume” and their ctOS which is a city-wide Operating System. With ctOS in everything from pedestrian phones to traffic lights to Satellites, you’re placed smack-dab in the middle of a hacker’s playground, where almost anything is your plaything.

The beautiful San Francisco is bursting with life. On every street corner, there is something happening. For example, so many conversations that in my 20-ish hours of gameplay I only ever heard one single conversation repeated twice.

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It’s a big world out there, my guy.

These conversations can be heard either by hacking a passer-by’s phone or just standing near a group interacting with each other. There are also fights breaking out, drunk people vomiting, dogs coming for a pat on the head, hikers getting lost and arguing over directions, Gang wars breaking out, even seals chilling on some rocks, the city truly feels alive… With the odd Ubisoft-brand glitch thrown in here and there, of course.

With so much going on in the world you don’t even need to hack anything to find entertainment. Just walk around petting dogs and listening to the petty woes of the common-folk. 

Of course, hacking things is a big part of the fun. Causing steam to erupt from a sewer grate so fast the ground explodes so you can evade cops, setting traps on electrical panels to take out gang members, turning the traffic lights off so that everyone mysteriously forgets how to drive and just collide into each other at full speed, remotely controlling a civilian’s vehicle, stealing money from everyone’s bank accounts as you walk down the street listening to their cries of anger as they realise what’s happening, reading the texts between a couple in the middle of a break-up… A lot is possible.

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You get a neat mini-bio of each person who’s phone you hack, and it’s different every time.

The really great thing about how the hacking is implemented is that when you approach a new mission there’s no clearly marked-out path to complete the mission, there’s just an objective and a set of tools at your disposal. How you use those tools is up to you. For many missions, if you play your cards right, you can finish the mission completely remotely using only hacking skills without once setting foot in a restricted area.

The game’s next strongest feature is its characters. The main members of your hacker group all have charm and personalities of their own. Wrench, Sitara, Josh and Horatio all have differing personalities and different levels of relationship with Marcus, bonding over different – but real – things, helping you get to know and relate to them just a little bit more with each mission.

There are a few times where this relatability and closeness to the characters help you feel attached to them and the game will use that to its advantage, tugging at your heart-strings – hacking in its own way, straight into your emotions.

At other times, Ubisoft’s penchant for being bad at creating characters breaks out in spades as you cringe at some of the out-of-touch ways the characters are written. Though, after a little while, this feeling occurs less and less.

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Wrench is the best character. Of course.

My Watch_Dogs 2 Platinum Trophy Experience

For the most part, this was a very easy platinum trophy. A huge majority of the trophies are tied to story completion and there are only 4 side-missions which you actually need to complete.

Within what felt like almost too short of a time, I had done that without any major difficulty and was on to collecting Key Data.

Key Data is hackable or stealable data which will help you to unlock new skills and even this is simple, because the upgrade menu tells you where to go. It’ll even open the map in the right location for you, so you can just place a marker, fast-travel to the nearest clothing store and then press blank to enter bot-net vision and see where the data is.

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This mode is great for seeing objectives, enemies and hackables. But it drowns out sound so you could be getting shot at and not hear it.

This took maybe 2 hours to fully collect them, as some were pretty complicated to get. One was hidden on construction scaffolding under a bridge and the only way up was to boost a car or motorbike up 2 ramps, and there was a small army of enemies there too.

Once all the Key Data was in my back pocket there was only a few miscellaneous trophies left. I’d taken a quick peek at the trophies a few times as I was going through the story and managed to pick up most of them, like buying certain clothing items and calling the police to come to arrest a guy cosplaying as a doughnut.

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The best bit is he tried to make a run for it when the cops arrived and they tased him!

It was the bigger misc trophies which were remaining, take 25 Scout X pictures – easy because the ScoutX app in-game tells you where to go for the nearest location – and buy 25 cars – less easy because it took a lot of money.

The worst trophies, hands down, were the online trophies. I’m sure nobody is surprised by that.

Completing a hacking invasion and completing a co-op operation, they’re fine – not a big deal. The hacking invasion can be a pain if the player is alert but most of the time people are just trying to play the game and get to their objective and don’t wanna mess around with the random online events.

The biggest pain-in-the-ass trophies are the Bounty Hunter ones. One of these two trophies requires you to find and kill 5 fugitives in Bounty Hunter mode and it SUCKS.

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My final victim.

For starters, whenever you try to start a Bounty Hunter mission, there’s like 60-70% chance you will end up in an armoured truck event instead. I can report that – without a doubt – defeating opponents in the long-winded and irritating armoured truck events does not count towards the bounty hunting trophy and is just a waste of time.

Once I figured that out, the process was a bit quicker because instead of wasting 20 minutes at a time doing the armoured truck events, I would back out and re-matchmake.

The next irritation of this game mode is that in the bounty’s game, you are basically a police officer. You hit like one and go down as easily as one. A single shot from a sniper or 3 rounds from a decent assault rifle and you’re mince-meat, but the bounty target can take 3 solid to-the-face sniper rounds and still shrug it off. 

Naturally, getting 5 of these kills takes way too long. I spent somewhere around 3-4 hours grinding my way through this game mode for this trophy and it’s safe to say I got pretty tilted too.

Going back to those Armoured Truck events, though, there is one benefit to these in that they count as Dedsec events. One of the toughest trophies in the game is the one which requires you to complete 5 Dedsec events. These are irritating since they occur randomly while you are playing the game, but Armoured Van missions count as Dedsec events!.

I capped off my playthrough with a co-op mission with a random guy online. Not sure if it’s normal, but I hacked a few enemies to send a few gangs after them and they were so distracted by that that the rando and I were able to just waltz in, steal their data, and waltz back out again no problemo. It was probably the easiest thing I’d done in the whole game.

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The game is horrible at taking trophy screenshots because the trophies will sometimes take an intense full minute to pop. So most of my trophy screenshots suck.

Watch_Dogs 2 Platinum Trophy Tips

This game’s pretty old so there are some great guides out there, and the trophies are so simple that you probably won’t even need a guide. Nevertheless, I have one or two tips which will make your life easier.

Trophy Image
Doggyland

Pet 10 dogs

This actually would work on just one dog, pet it 10 times. However, I noticed that in my game I could only pet a dog 4 times before it wouldn’t let me do it anymore. Still, I only needed to find 3 dogs and over-pet them, rather than finding 10 dogs. Not that they’re all that rare.

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Maybe I should have prioritised petting dogs a little less…
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Smooth Felon

Escape a Level 5 Felony

For this, you need to get the cops after you to a 5th-level degree. There are a whole lot of different guides out there for how to do it easily, and the best methods for escaping them with various convoluted steps in the process but, in my experience, you’ll save yourself a whole lot of time and effort if you just do it legit.

Start by killing pedestrians until the cops appear, if they somehow don’t appear (because you killed all the pedestrians and there’s nobody to call the cops) hack somebody nearby and call the cops on them

Once the cops appear, start killing them and your felony level will rise fast. Once you’re at level 5 jump in a vehicle, one of the tough Police SUVs that has likely just pulled up nearby is best for this as it’ll let you shrug off most gunshots and collisions. 

Drive sensibly and use the various hacks at your disposal to get rid of the cops on your tail. Some skills will likely make this easier, like being able to hack a helicopter, but I never had the skill and did just fine with plain old traffic lights, vehicle hacks and steam vents.

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Come on, I’m not even well-hidden.
Trophy Image
trophy title

trophy description

I noted this earlier, but just in-case anyone skipped to this section, Armoured Van Event kills DO NOT count towards the trophy. 

It’s a little confusing and a lot frustrating since the game will more-often-than-not send you into an Armoured Van event when you clearly picked “Bounty Hunt” in the menu. So, to save yourself some time, skip these. Unless you need this trophy:

Trophy Image
One of the Gang

Complete 5 DedSec Events

DedSec events occur randomly and every guide I saw had instructions on how to best waste 2-3 hours waiting for them to spawn. I was putting off this grind, leaving the worst til last as I so often do with trophies. Only to find out that all the Armoured Van events I was doing were actually counting towards this trophy.

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Here’s the trophy popping after I evaded police following an armoured van event (which gives bounty hunt exp… smh)

If you have any more questions and want some advice hit me up at u/PlatGet on Reddit or TheDblTap on PSNProfiles and I’ll tell you what I can.

Don’t send me co-op requests though, I’m a busy guy and I hate online multiplayer, sorry!

Verdict

Plat

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The game is actually great, with a relatable – if somewhat cringeworthy – cast of characters, an interesting and sometimes emotional story and easy platinum, it’s worth your time!

Pros

  • Relatable & loveable characters
  • Enticing Story
  • Simple but fun gameplay mechanics
  • Easy Platinum

Cons

  • Awful online multiplayer
  • A few glitches here and there
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Gold Trophy

As with all Ubisoft games, it has its problems, but this is certainly one of their stronger titles.

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About the Author

More fond of single-player experiences and story-driven games than anything else, TheDblTap has a keen eye for secrets and collectables, a skill which serves him well as a Trophy Hunter. However, with little patience and poor timing, he can struggle where MrZhangetsu would succeed.

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